Whidbey Island Wineries & Distilleries

Whidbey Island Wineries & Distilleries

 

With intriguing accents of spice and musty earth [and] a gripping mouthful of tannins dance on the lengthy finish.”

 

These are the words used to describe Spoiled Dog Winery’s Estate Pinot Noir. If you are a fancy wine connoisseur, you probably knew what all of those words meant. Or maybe that entire sentence was gibberish to you.

 

Luckily, expertise is not a requirement for enjoyment when it comes to wine. This is evident annually with the “Autumn on Whidbey Tour” when people from all over and with all levels of wine knowledge flood the tasting rooms of local wineries to make memories. The tour is filled with friends having fun, amazing wine, and local art displayed in every tasting room.

 

Hosted by the Whidbey Island Vintners and Distillers Association, this year’s Autumn on Whidbey tour is widening it’s horizons by also including some local spirits! This expansion helps to include individuals interested in participating, but not really interested in wine. It also provides recognition and traffic to some pretty great local distilleries.

 

Below are some of the Wineries and Distilleries participating in this year’s tour that we had the pleasure of visiting:

 

Holmes Harbor Cellars 

 holmes harborHolmes HarborHolmes Harbor

When you think of vineyards and wine tours, do you think of gorgeous Italian villas overlooking expansive acres of grape vines? If so, Holmes Harbor is the place for you! This locally owned winery opened its doors in 2008 with the hope of blending art and science to create some of the most incredible wines on Whidbey. This blend is evident both in their wine and in their tasting room which has the facade of a beautiful authentic villa while proudly displaying their fermentation tanks within. You can’t help but feel like you are about to have the best weekend of your life when you enter this incredible space.

 

Mutiny Bay Distillery 

Mutiny Bay, DistilleryMutiny Bay, LocalMutiny Bay

You are going to LOVE this mom, pop, and son distillery. After retiring as pharmacists Rod and Kathy Stallman utilized their deep understanding of chemistry to create spirits that ignite your imagination. With the engineering innovations of their son Scott, this trio created what can only be described as a dream line of liquor distilled from almost exclusively local ingredients. Their love and passion for their craft is evident from the moment you enter the tasting room. They love walking people through their selection of spirits and their process. You do not want to miss this stop on the tour!

 

Spoiled Dog Winery

WineSpoiled Dog Spoiled DogSpoiled Dog

As one of the most established and favorited wineries on the island, Spoiled Dog is without doubt a real treat to visit. Approaching the property guests are enveloped in trees that open suddenly to acres of vineyards and one of the most charming farm style buildings on Whidbey. Walking in one is immediately met by friendly tasting room staff standing in front of countless barrels of aging wine. The staff are knowledgeable and eager to help. Their selection is incredible and nothing beats the view of the vineyard with tall evergreens in the background.

 

This year’s Autumn on Whidbey Tour is November 9-10. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $25 or $30 day of the event. You can purchase yours here!

 

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Posted on November 8, 2019 at 8:32 pm
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Back to School – Interview with Erik Mann

Back to School 

Interview with Erik MannErik Mann, Windermere, Real Estate, Whidbey Island, Whidbey, Homes, Buy, sell, invest, listing agent, agent, trusted realtor, selling agent

 

Here at Windermere Whidbey we are blessed to work with a wonderful agent and friend, Erik Mann. Erik is a vested community member, passionate about Oak Harbor and specifically education. He has served on the Oak Harbor school board for the last 2 years and possesses a wealth of knowledge that we are lucky to have in our brokerage.

The other day we sat down with Erik to ask about a few of the changes happening in the Oak Harbor schools this coming fall. His answers should be as helpful and informative for you as they were for us!

 

Hello Erik! So, we’ve heard there is going to be a big structure shift this year at the high school. Is this true? Can you tell us about it?

Yes! In recent history, Oak Harbor High School has operated on a semester schedule with six classes per day; allowing a total of six credits per year. The total number of credits available during four years of high school was 24. The Washington State Legislature requires a minimum of 24 credits to graduate. With ever-increasing restrictions on required course content, it meant that students had little flexibility to try new disciplines, arts, and advanced course work. A student’s failure of any class meant alternative pathways to credit retrieval were required, as there was no flexibility built into the schedule.

Beginning this year, the high school transitions to a trimester school year. Individual class times have been lengthened, so only five periods per day, but instead of only earning six credits per year, a student will earn seven and one-half credits per year, for a total of 30 credits over four years.

This allows far more flexibility for students to make up credits, explore new disciplines, do advanced coursework, explore vocational and art classes, etc. Because graduation requirements are fixed once you enter ninth grade, the classes of 2020-2022 are still bound to the graduation requirements in place at the time they entered high school. They will all still be required to earn 24 credits, while classes 2023 and beyond will need 28 credits to graduate but have more flexibility than previous classes.

 

That sounds like an amazing change for our high school students! What about the rest of our students? Any improvements that we should be keeping an eye out for?

Well, continued advocacy by the superintendent, school board, administrators and staff to our elected officials in Olympia and Washington DC, has led to an amazing opportunity to replace two of our aging elementary schools. Through the Department of Defense, the Office of Economic Adjustment has been tasked with replacing old, inadequate school facilities located on military installations and other government property.

With 160 schools evaluated nationwide, two of Oak Harbor’s schools currently rank in the top 11 schools in the nation in need of replacement due to age and capacity. This means we will be eligible to receive 80% of the funding to replace Crescent Harbor Elementary School (3) AND Clover Valley Home Connection and Early Learning Campus (11). The community will only have to fund 20% of construction costs!

There is also a possibility to move or update our aging transportation facility. Due to our interlocal agreement to provide service to the Coupeville School District’s busses, the district will qualify for a state funding match of 80% of the cost to replace/relocate the facility.

This will be an amazing opportunity for us to leverage our community’s investment in our schools with state and federal funding to replace our aging infrastructure at a fraction of the typical cost!

Whoa! That is incredible and so great it’s in partnership with the DOD, as they are such a large part of our community. I know student health has been a hot topic recently, what can we expect as far as changes there?

Over the past few years, the approach to our education system has seen a marked change in direction. I am pleased to see so much movement into the entire well-being of a child, not just focusing on academic success. It is my goal to see a continued expansion of social-emotional learning, an expansion of counseling and nursing staff, and a real focus on connections between students, adults, the community and resources available to them.

Through a partnership with NAS Whidbey Island, 5 new mental health counselors are being provided by the DOD through a contractor, who will work within Oak Harbor Public Schools. This will expand our already greater than average presence of counselors within schools but is what I hope to be just the beginning.

Whole-child initiatives also mean we need to be engaged in the health and wellness of our students. Beyond PE classes and activities available to students, education about food and healthy eating can make huge improvements in their overall well-being. Schools are all embracing outdoor student learning in interactive gardens and outdoor spaces. Students are learning lessons in the garden that extend beyond growing flowers and vegetables. They are learning science and math, but more importantly are learning to work together in a hands-on environment. They are exposed to produce they would never imagine trying, but because they took part in growing it, will enthusiastically try it and find out they like it. They are learning compassion and community service as their produce is used to supplement local food bank supplies.

Environmental stewardship goes beyond our gardens, however. As a district, we have taken great steps to be as forward thinking, efficient and conservative as possible. A large-scale effort to replace aging heating system boilers with state-of-the-art high efficiency boilers, replacing nearly all lighting with highly efficient LED lights, and transitioning to propane powered busses has propelled us to be one of the front runners in the nation. We’ve earned several state and national green ribbon awards this year. Oak Harbor Public Schools has become a model of environmental stewardship. We will continue to lead the way teaching our students to be healthy and environmentally conscious and make our systems as efficient as possible to protect our taxpayers’ investment.

This is all so great Erik! Thank you for keeping on top of this and informing our community. We know you take your role as a real estate professional as seriously as you take your role on the Oak Harbor School Board, but can you tell us how you see the two connecting?

One of the reasons I chose to work as a Windermere Broker was the focus and commitment to community through the Windermere Foundation, which collects a percentage of every transaction completed, and returns it to our community. It was rewarding to be instrumental in establishing a scholarship fund that has now awarded seven scholarships totaling $12,000 to local low-income graduates who attend vocational programs, community colleges and universities. The Windermere Foundation also provides funds to the opportunity council annually for programs that support Oak Harbor’s low-income students, providing warm clothes, backpacks and other necessities. Windermere is also a supporter of the Oak Harbor Education Foundation which provides applied learning grants for classroom projects within our district, allowing teachers to pursue hands on projects that fall outside the scope of normal funding and thereby enriching our students’ experience. Learn more about the scholarships here.

Windermere Realtors are often the first local resource a family connects with, and my connection with the district allows me to update other Realtors in my office with the most up to date and useful information to incoming families. As the second largest employer on the island, many of our Windermere clients, are employed as educators, administrators and classified staff within the district, or have children who attend Oak Harbor Public Schools. What a great benefit for them to be able to work with a Realtor who understands how the school district operates, and can provide timely, relevant information.

As I look forward to another school year, I can’t help but be excited for the possibilities.

Thank you for your time Erik! Keep up the good work!

 

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Posted on September 4, 2019 at 6:55 pm
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Blonde Lawns on Whidbey Island

Blonde Lawns on Whidbey Island

Hello Summer! Can you believe it’s here? That beautiful time of year filled with beach walks, swimming lessons, trips to Kapaws Iskreme and so much more! Here on Whidbey we have countless summer traditions we treasure greatly. From our Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration to the Whidbey Island Fair, there is so much to cherish about this time of year. One tradition you may be unaware of is actually more of a movement.

Blonde Lawns.

Through the course of the summer months you can watch the emerald grass of this evergreen island fade to a sandy shade. Before you know it, this rock will be rocking a brand new blonde look.

What’s with the lack luster lawns? Well, it all has to do with conservation.

It’s no surprise to anyone that Whidbey tends to be a rather environmentally conscious. We love taking the extra step to ensure the beauty and resources we enjoy today will be around for tomorrow. One of those resources we care deeply about are our aquifers.

Aquifers:

Aquifers is the scientific term for ground water. Deep below the grass you walk on are pockets of “permeable” soil which store water that can then be tapped into for use. Annually these aquifers are recharged by the rain that falls to the ground.

According to Island County, Whidbey Island’s sole source of potable water comes from the ground.1 Sounds great, right? I mean, it’s Washington and it rains here. We should be good.Whidbey Island

Unfortunately, not all is good in the aquifer hood.

According to a report released by the Washington State Department of Ecology, “increasing demands for water from ongoing population growth, declining stream flows and groundwater levels… have put Washington’s water supplies at risk.” Whidbey is by no means immune to this water depletion; in fact, seawater intrusion and our lack of rain fall in comparison to the rest of Western Washington puts us in a pretty tight spot.

So, what does this have to do with the blonde lawns of Whidbey (I think you can guess).

The summer months, when there is little rain, poses a particularly difficult dilemma for island aquifers. Between keeping ourselves hydrated in the summer sun, watering plants, animals, and filling the pool in the backyard we use A LOT of water.

This increase of use and lack of resource hits hard on our aquifers and our wallets! Many newcomers to Whidbey are shocked when that first summer water bill comes in. The rules of supply and demand are no strangers to Whidbey Island water.

So how can we save our aquifers (and our wallets)? By going blonde!

Grass is far more durable than people sometimes realize. More times than not the golden grass that takes over Whidbey in the summer will be green again by next spring. Blonde lawns DON’T mean dead grass.

So, save yourself time, money, hassle and save our precious resources. Let your lawn go blonde!

 

Resources:

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Posted on June 10, 2019 at 11:06 pm
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QR Codes Connecting Us to History

QR Codes Connecting Us to History

Coupeville:

It’s of no surprise to anyone that Whidbey Island is home to some fascinating and wonderful towns each with their own history and culture. Perhaps the most intriguing is Whidbey’s oldest town and home of the first Whidbey Island settlement, Coupeville.

Coupeville is an adorable waterfront community rich in history and culture. In 1850 Issac Ebey became the first official Whidbey Island settler when he applied for the first land claim on the island. Claiming over 600 acres of what is now Ebey’s Landing, Ebey was soon to be followed by his nephew and many others. By 1854 there were 29 settlement claims in Coupeville alone and in 1881 it officially became the Island County seat.

Preservation:

Although all of Whidbey is covered in fascinating history, Coupeville is unique in its preservation. Where many of the original buildings of Oak Harbor and Langley have been torn down or decimated by historic fires, downtown Coupeville’s original buildings remain intact and in use. In fact, the town of Coupeville has more historic buildings in a condensed area than anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.

Technology:

To celebrate this fact and educate people on these beautiful historic buildings, Island County’s 4-H club took on the project of using modern technology to connect us to the past. Next time you’re in downtown Coupeville, take a closer look at those historic store windows. You might just see one of these:

QR Code, History, Coupeville, 4H, Preservation small towns, oldest town, remembrance, Celebrate the past

 

Scattered down Front Street are tons of these QR codes leading to the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association website developed by the 4-H club in 2012. This website is full of information gathered from the Island County Historical Society, City Records, and over 100 personal interviews with people recounting memories and stories of the historic downtown. Each building’s QR code will lead you directly to that building’s history: when it was built, it’s original purpose, and the different stores that have occupied the space.

So, the next time you are strolling down Font Street whip out that smartphone of yours and learn a little bit of history along the way.

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Posted on May 30, 2019 at 11:52 pm
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Get Your Ghoul on Whidbey Island Style

Get Your Ghoul on:

Whidbey Island Style 

If you have found yourself strolling the streets of Coupeville recently, you might have noticed some spooky spirits lurking about. Don’t worry! These ghouls aren’t out to get you but instead, they welcome in the Halloween season.

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A post shared by Stephanie Meleah Cox (@stephmeleah) on Oct 8, 2018 at 6:32pm PDT

 

October 1st marked the beginning of the annual Haunting of Coupeville. Five years ago the City of Coupeville’s Chamber of Commerce decided the town’s holiday spirit and Spooktacular events deserved an overarching identity.

Thus, The Haunting of Coupeville was born!

Every year from October 1st – 31st the Haunting includes not only fun town decorations but events that are enjoyable for the entire family!

  • Enjoy the weekend picking pumpkins and taking trolley rides at Sherman’s Farm; but be careful, the barn is haunted!
  • On the 24th Potterhead’s can enjoy a Dark Arts Dinner Party at Front Street Grill complete with appetizers, potions, and maybe even some Butterbeer.
  • Enjoy exploring Haunted Fort Casey on the 26th-27th where children are invited to participate in Trick or Treat Lane, games, ghost stories and a bounce house.
  • Coupeville’s Great Pumpkin Race on Sunday the 28th serves as a grand finale to the festivities. Watch as participants race their handcrafted pumpkins down front street tin hopes to win the champion trophy.

Young or old, this season holds events that anyone and everyone can enjoy. So get your ghoul on this Hollows Eve in the beautiful town of Coupeville.

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A post shared by Whidbey Custom Events (@whidbeyevents) on Jun 29, 2016 at 7:16pm PDT

 

For more information about the Haunting of Coupeville visit: www.HauntingOfCoupeville.com

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Posted on October 18, 2018 at 6:45 pm
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A Café in the Woods

A Café in the Woods

Literally tucked back in the woods of Langley at the end of a long and winding road is a little place you may not have heard of but is totally worth a visit! Mukilteo Coffee Roasters “Café in the Woods” is home to the “perfect cup of coffee”. If you are a coffee (and food) lover, this little café is a must visit!

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A post shared by Mukilteo Coffee Roasters (@mukilteocoffee) on Aug 31, 2018 at 9:25am PDT

The café prides itself on the use of organic ingredients for all the items found on their menu, and coffee beans bought directly from the growers in Costa Rica. You will be delighted with the smell of freshly roasted coffee wafting in from the roasting room, and food cooked with fresh ingredients brought in by local farmers every day. Their café menu changes seasonally to keep the ingredients as fresh and local as possible, which makes it a great opportunity to try something new!

What Makes Them Unique:

The owners, Gary, and Beth Smith, at Mukilteo Coffee Roasters had a goal to “create the perfect cup of coffee” and many seem to agree that they have done just that! What makes them so unique is that they traveled to Costa Rica to meet the growers and taste the coffee before choosing which coffee they would use.  Now their growers, a small family farm in Costa Rica, are considered part of the family and Gary and Beth visit frequently to experience the farm first hand. The café moved to its current location in 2003 and has been thriving ever since. Not only is their little café in Langley a huge success, Mukilteo coffees are shipped to consumers everywhere and served around the globe!

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A post shared by Mukilteo Coffee Roasters (@mukilteocoffee) on Aug 25, 2018 at 2:38pm PDT

The Café is open for breakfast and lunch from 8 am to 4 pm Monday through Saturday. You can visit their website [ https://mukilteocoffee.com/ ] to take a peek at their most current menu or order a bag of slow roasted coffee to brew right at home. We are sure your visit to the café will have you coming back for more!

Have you visited the Café in the Woods? Tell us all about your experience in the comments below!

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Posted on September 7, 2018 at 7:31 am
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Summer Time Sweet Treats

Summer Time Sweet Treats

What do you do to keep cool in these hot summer months? One of our favorite things is to head out for a cold and sweet treat! Thankfully, Whidbey is home to some amazing places for just that!

  1. KAPAWS Iskreme – 21 Front St NE, Coupeville

One of Whidbey Island’s best-kept secrets, KAPAWS is a favorite stop for some amazing ice cream and quaint small-town atmosphere. We highly recommend grabbing one of their fresh waffle cones that you can smell a mile away. The best part is their $1 kid cones – for kids only! Open 7 days a week from 11 am to 5:30 pm, KAPAWS offers friendly service, generous portions, and reasonable prices that won’t disappoint!

  1. Ciao – 701 Main St N, Coupeville

You may be surprised to learn that Ciao isn’t just about the amazing pizza. Every day, gelato is made in-house from a recipe created in the 1700’s! Made from milk rather than cream gelato sports a velvety texture that will make your taste buds dance. Stop by Monday through Saturday 11am-8pm to try out one of their many flavors. We especially love their Affogato, which is gelato floated in espresso! Yum!

  1. K&R Farms “The Stand” – 36699 SR 20, Oak Harbor

A post shared by @accioaimara on May 5, 2018 at 4:19pm PDT

If you’ve ever driven toward Anacortes, you probably noticed the farm stand on highway 20. K&R Farm’s “The Stand” is a favorite stop for local produce, fresh beef, ice cream, and many other tasty delights. Recently, The Stand started serving Hawaiian shaved Ice and it has been a big hit! Hawaiian shaved ice differs from your run of the mill snow cone because of the soft snow-like texture that absorbs all the flavor of the syrup and makes for a refreshing treat! You can visit the stand 7 days a week from 11 am to 6 pm.

 

  1. Toppins – 32650 SR 20 A101, Oak Harbor

“Frozen yogurt your way” is our favorite way to describe Toppins. With 12 different frozen yogurt flavors and 80+ topping choices, all self-serve, you can create your own dessert masterpiece. What’s even better is that it doesn’t stop there! Toppins also offer’s floats made with your frozen yogurt flavor choice. We really enjoy their pineapple float with its refreshing flavor that is perfect for summer. You can stop by for your cool off treat from 11 am to 10 pm Monday through Saturday and 11 am to 9 pm on Sunday.

  1. Café de Lisio – 957 Ault Field Rd, Oak Harbor

A post shared by Cafe De Lisio (@cafedelisio) on Jul 13, 2018 at 8:00am PDT

It may be easy to miss, but Café de Lisio is famous locally! Their “mile-long” menu of creative combinations for all their delicious coffee drinks may be overwhelming so just tell the barista what you’re after and they can suggest one for you. Everything can be done icy cold and kid friendly! Our favorite cold menu item is the Attitude Adjuster, and trust us, you will not be disappointed. The café and drive through are open from 5am-6pm Monday through Friday and 6am-5pm Saturday and Sunday for your convenience.

 

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Posted on August 14, 2018 at 8:31 pm
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Parks in Oak Harbor

Parks in Oak Harbor

With summer winding down, we love to get outside and enjoy that glorious sunshine, and what better way to do that than visit some of the many parks in Oak Harbor? We love these parks because they are close by which makes them perfect for an after-work picnic or an evening out in the fresh air.

  1. Flinstone Park and City Beach

    Oak Harbor , Windermere

Have you ever noticed the famous Flinstone car on Bayshore Drive? You guessed it! That would be Flinstone Park which connects to City Beach. This is a perfect place to take a walk down the boardwalk, look for hidden treasures on the beach, build a driftwood fort, or sit and enjoy the scenery on one of the many benches along the beach. Another thing we love is that it is close to downtown shopping, and restaurants! We love to grab an ice cream cone at Popsies and take a stroll through the park.

  1. Fort Nugent

    Fort Nugent Park Sign, Park, Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island

Ft. Nugent Park offers a wide variety of things to do for kids and adults alike. Soccer, Football, and Baseball fields take up a large portion of the park providing plenty of space to run free, kick a ball, play catch, or practice your batting skills. A large wooden Castle-like play structure is a favorite among the kids in Oak Harbor and is what gives this park its nickname “Castle Park”. A large disc golf course runs throughout the wooded area of the park which makes for beautiful walking trails to enjoy.

  1. Joseph Whidbey State Park & Rocky Point Beach

    Kkite Surfer, Park, Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island

Joseph Whidbey State Park is a favorite of Whidbey residents thanks to its cool hiking trails and beach with beautiful views of the Strait of Juan De Fuca. A covered picnic area, grills, picnic benches, miles of beach to comb for treasures, and hiking trails to venture make this park a great place to have an adventure or family day in the sun. When the wind is blowing hard this is a favorite spot for kite surfers too which makes quite a spectacle!

  1. Dugualla State Park

    Dugualla State Park

While Dugualla State Park may technically be part of the famous Deception Pass State Park, it is virtually untouched. Dugualla is a peaceful place with hiking trails, spectacular scenery, and a beach area to explore. Not many people know of this hidden gem making it a great place to enjoy quiet and nature.

  1. Deception Pass State Park

Deception Pass Picnic arae, Oak Harbor, Whidbey island, park

This may seem like an obvious choice, but there is so much to love about Deception Pass State Park we had to include it! Chances are you’ve only seen a portion of all it has to offer. The iconic bridge, beaches, hiking trails, and lakes offer so much variety it can take years to explore every aspect. You can swim at Cranberry Lake, spot critters along the beaches, hike one of the many trails throughout the park, enjoy a picnic at a covered picnic area, and soak in a gorgeous sunset over the sound all in one place. Our 5 favorite “hidden” features of this massive park are as follows…

  • Hoypus Point is on the opposite side of Hwy. 20 from the main part of the park. Just take Cornet Bay Rd. East till it dead ends.
  • There is a little cabin you can rent on Ben Ure Island but you have to have your own kayak, canoe or other human-powered watercraft to get there!
  • Rosario Head is a favorite well-worn path out to the most spectacular point and vista. Don’t miss reading the legend of the maiden Ko-kwahl-alwoot on your way or the tidepools! Best way to get here is the trail connecting to Bowman Bay.
  • Pass Lake is known for its fly fishing but few know about its miles of quiet and heavily wooded trails on the West End.
  • The path to Lighthouse Point from Bowman Bay is spectacular! Little inlets, views of the bridge, and a variety of native foliage make this a visually stunning hike that is worthy of repeat visits.

Oak Harbor offers so many different parks to enjoy, and these are just a few. What are some of your favorite parks to visit? We would love to hear about them!

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Posted on August 2, 2018 at 7:04 pm
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